The actress chats to us about playing Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit and how acting helps her expend energy

Angela Lansbury at the Gielgud Theatre in 2014

Angela Lansbury has been in the public eye since 1944 © REX Shutterstock

Angela Lansbury has been in the spotlight since 1944 when she won the role of Nancy Oliver in Gaslight.

Since then, she’s played Miss Eglantine Price in Bedknobs And Broomsticks and voiced the animated character Mrs Potts in Disney film Beauty And The Beast.

Angela also won viewers’ hearts as Jessica Fletcher in TV series Murder, She Wrote. The show ran from 1984-1996. She appeared in 264 episodes and was nominated for numerous awards.

How do you take your tea?

I drink very strong tea – that 
always gets me going!

Who would you most like 
to have a cup of tea with?

Henry Irving’s leading lady, Ellen Terry. She was an extraordinary actress and a real homebody who used to cook dinner for the whole family before she went to the theatre.

You played clairvoyant Madame Arcati in Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit – your first West End appearance in 40 years. How did that feel?

Extraordinary! The Gielgud Theatre is where 
my mother made her debut in 
1918, so it was like coming home.

What’s your favourite theatrical role you’ve played?

Madame Arcati! Blithe Spirit is a marvellous play. It reminds me of my childhood when I used to fool around with my older sister doing a sort of medium séance.

I’m not at all involved with the occult and it was always just a bit of fun, but I adore the character and I love getting out on the stage every night.

Do you have as much energy nowadays as you always did?

I have an inordinate amount of energy. 
I’ve got to expend it somehow, 
and what better way than acting?

What’s your secret to all 
this vim and vigour?

My grandfather was something 
of an ‘iron man’. He walked everywhere and had an amazing constitution. I think I’ve inherited that from him.